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In The Backyard

I've been home almost two weeks now.  We were away on a Mission Trip in Kayenta, Arizona, Navajo Nation. The re-entry has been a bit was a long way, it was very hot, and the work was non-stop.  That's how mission trips work.  It is defiantly not a vacation.  Along with the work and re-connecting with our friends from 10 years ago...I did have many opportunities for taking some wonderful photo's.  So when I returned, I put the camera's aside and wanted a break.  I had enough uploading and editing to do to last me the rest of the summer.  Sometimes, though, life hands us opportunities and we can either ignore them or jump on them..I chose the later.

I didn't travel very far.  Actually I didn't travel at all.  It has been hot here at home and my jet lag was keeping me laying pretty low for a few days.  I chose that time to sit on my sun porch and read.  I was distracted though this one day with lots of squawking, screeching and movement in the yard.  When I looked behind me, I saw so much going on that just delighted me, so once again, I ran for my camera.  After attaching the 150-500 lens, I took a screen out of the window and just cranked that baby open...clean shots to everything...It became a waiting game.  My neighborhood is very quiet out back so it wasn't long before Mother Nature made her appearance again...Life in the hood...and this is what I enjoyed for almost two hours...funny how I wasn't tired anymore...


Living in their car...

Eating crickets.

It seems while we were away, this family moved into the birdhouse that we had hanging on our dogwood tree.  Both the Mom and the Dad fed the babies, which I haven't seen yet.  One would gather up some crickets or bugs and enter.  A few minutes later out she would come...and fly away.  Waiting in the wings was the other one, probably the Dad...that would be him in the first photo.  It was a joy to watch them and to hope that they would be safe in their little shelter...

Then there was this cutie...sitting on the fence between the main yard and the pool area.  From where I was sitting in the sun room I thought he had gotten himself a corn cob...later when Liam came over and was looking through the photo's in camera, he rightly told me that the squirrel was eating a pine cone.  Pretty bad to be corrected by a 6 year old.  I swear he was eating it like an ear of corn.  At any rate, he was quite happy to sit there and have his lunch while I snapped was nice to lean that lens on the back of my little wicker couch as it can get heavy..

Then the bunny came along.  I'm actually mad at the bunny because when we got back from Kayenta they had eaten all of my Impatiens that I had planted in the two big buckets out front.  I didn't stay mad for long because I was worried about the little bunny being out there in the middle of the day, happily chomping away on whatever it is they love in the grass...There does seem to be more of them this year than ever before but I think they will start dwindling down soon...really cute to watch though...

This is the reason why I I don't have enough to worry about with my own family, I now have to worry about the woodland critters..These hawks freak me out.  They have been hanging around here for over two years now and not only are they hunting on my property but they are loud and frightening when they swooped and fly low..when I took this photo there were three of them sitting in that dead tree..a great vantage point to keep their eyes on the movement in the yard.  The squirrels are not to bright either because they are always squawking and the hawks know right where they are.  So far I have been fortunate not to see any of these sweet little ones get picked up...but we did find a squirrel dead in the meditation garden.  I suppose if it's your time to go, the meditation garden could be comforting.  I'm not sure how he happened to die there and why he wasn't picked up...just glad I wasn't here for it.  Undertaker Jim was on the job to do the removal ceremony...I know for sure I couldn't have done it...

The point of all of this is sometimes we search high and low...walk for miles, carry heavy equipment to get the perfect get excited about what we do...when really, it can be as easy as a walk out back if you have a garden...or a yard.  I happen to live in an area where we have lots of wild life, both big and small, but even if you don't, I bet there are views, and pretty flowers with lots of texture and chipped paint just waiting for you to find it...a little light, a bit of bokeh and a new perspective is just waiting outside your door...put on a lens that you haven't used in awhile and just step over the threshold into a new Alice going down the rabbit hole.

If you do not see what is around you every day, what will you see when you go to Tangiers?”

I love to write Haiku's and read about them...sometimes they just to come and I'm always delighted when they fit a photo, like the one above.

Have a wonderful weekend...more about the Kayenta trip much to take in and process...



So Now You're Four

Are you sure about that Nana...

Dear Jaxson, I'm writing this early so that you can read it on your birthday next week.  We had your party last Sunday because Papa and I are going to be away on our Mission trip on your real birthday.   So on that day, this will be my gift to you.  You'll have to get Mommy to read it to you...perhaps while your tucked into bed after so much fun with your little friends. That is something that happen this year, you didn't have to many little friends before but now you have lots of them.  Slowly, you will move away, just like Liam did.  Oh I know he still loves me and that him and I are still best friends...and I know also, that you will love me because you and I are best Bud's.  I'm so grateful to have the two of you to teach me all the new things that I'll need to know...even just this past year you have taught me and Papa so much..mostly when we are driving in the car.  Why just this week, you told me that I couldn't look at your YouTube video because "it's not for girls"...I see.  A special YouTube video just for boys...I think you might have tricked me there just by the look on your face...I'm really wondering if it was "not for small boys"..but that's o.k.  Tricks work Jaxson...let's check out all the cool stuff that you learned this year, especially on Tuesday's with Nana and Papa.


Oh look at you with your cowboy apron on.  Your learning how to cook, although this day you were just whipping up some chocolate pudding for you and Liam.  I like spending time with you in the kitchen and your treats are always delicious.   Your always so happy to run to Liam when he comes in and to show you what you made for tea time...I think tea time is a favorite part of the day for both of you at Nana's house.  I know I love it best also...

Your first friend, after me of course, was Gracie.  When you would go to watch Liam play sports you would always take Gracie for a walk..I think both of you were practicing, you learning to walk her and Her learning to trust you..but now, she goes with you all the time. Such a good job there Jaxson.  Maybe soon she'll trust you enough to have a sleep-over at your house when Nana and Papa travel...but hmmm, not just yet.

Where are you Jaxson...oh, there you are.  Under the water.  This is your second year of swim lessons and you have learned so much this year.  Really big stuff, like floating and jumping way into the water, trying to get your feet to touch the bottom. We go every Tuesday in the morning before we go off to our adventure for the day..Your so brave..and not at all afraid of getting your face wet.  Just a few weeks ago, you jumped off the big block next to the diving board...I know, you tell me every week as you point to it, "I'm not jumping off that"'s o.k Jaxson...jumping off the block was huge and I'm so proud of you because I know it was scary for you...but the smile when you came, wish I had my camera for that shot.

You are a wiz at the I-phone and I-pad.  Well, enough said about that.  The really important lesson that you've learned about them though is ...when your asked to shut them off, you always do and you know that you can't have them at dinner or snack time because that time is for conversation.  Oh my, wouldn't it be so sad if you didn't know how to power down and we never got to have conversation.  One of my most favorite things to do with you this year was to have conversation. Guess why, because you not only use your words but you use your hands and your eyes..and you make these really great expressions that send me and Papa into gales of thanks, Buddy, for always tuning out so you can tune in to us...but I have to admit..your very good at what you do with that thing...

Now this was a really fun gave Papa a run for his learned to keep your kite in the air..what a great told me it only works..."if you run really fast Nana"...well I knew right there that this would be a Papa job.  How come you never get tired Jaxson...and you love being outside.  I am so happy about even know what it's called..."being with Mother Nature" just  rolls off your tongue.  We are just walking along and you look up at me with those sweet blue eyes and glasses and say, "love Mother Nature Nana, don't you".  Yes, Jaxson I do.  Thanks for all the Mother Nature days and sightings.  Here's some other outside events that you love.

Riding on the big boat in Maine...I think maybe this year you will be able to drive boy.

Just doing your thing, whatever it is, in the front yard.  According to you a sunny day is great for an umbrella.

Playing a game with Liam outside on the deck in St. Maarten.  I love how you love each other...that makes my heart sing.


"Here it comes Nana...can you hear the bell"

Waiting for the train to go into Boston...You and Liam love going to the Rose Kennedy parkway.

When no one else is around.. Gracie is called into service.  Now that you are best friends, she loves going riding with you in your tractor...NOT...she goes but only up the road and back.  She's such a good pal. Your outside adventures are many but there is one that really sticks out for me...and makes me roll with laughter..and by the way Jaxson, you and Liam make me laugh so much.  Thank you for that.



Going to the Willows is what you like to do now...the beach for funning and playing in the sand and big trees to learn about tree climbing.  I don't think Papa trust you just yet to get down by yourself but I bet next year you won't have a problem with that.  You know what I like best, no matter what your doing, you always do it with a smile on your face...Oh, I almost forgot, you love the pizza and the ice cream at the Willows also..Your a smart boy about that popcorn..delicious..


Oh my gosh, this was so big...what you did this year.  Just a few short weeks ago, you graduated from the red room.  Next year you go to the blue room and you'll go to pre-school everyday.  What a smart boy your are...I'm thinking your could have charmed your way there also..such a big smile..I know, your waving at were pretty proud of yourself and wanted to share that...great job little Buddy...way to go.


At the end of the day Jaxson, you will grow.  I can't stop it, but I wouldn't mind freezing you at 3.  You have given Papa and I the best times this year.  You make us laugh, you make us proud.  We know your journey and you continue to amaze and bring joy and learning into our lives.  If, in the next few years, as you go, try not to change to much.  You have such a wonderful personality and you have never had a problem being just you.  That is so much a part of your charm.  Do you see that scary guy at the Mall...that was you just two days ago..and you had no problem believing that you were from Star Wars...keep that magic for as long as you can.  Also, when things are "lame and boring", don't be afraid to speak out.  Don't give in, you haven't yet, don't start now...And as you travel along the train tracks of life...keep looking outside, there is a great big world out there waiting for you, my Buddy.  Keep on moving on. Lastly, at the end of the day, remember to have your cup of tea and a treat.  Sit quietly and enjoy it. Resting is good. I hope you will always love tea, just like you do right now. I hope we have helped to teach you about great adventures, being with Mother Nature and sharing conversations.  All those things will make your life so wonderful and full of joy, the same kind of wonderful that you have given to us these past four years...and sometimes...Jaxson, as you grow, remember to reflect on all your fun times.  And whatever you do, just keep talking like you were born in the North End...even if you were born in downtown Boston...

Love you Little Buddy...bring on four...what are you going to teach me next...


The Magic is Still There

The Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida...the magic still exist.  No one can take it away or deny all who enter it's gates, the joy of being a child or returning to that childhood happy place, we all hold in our hearts, it happens there still.   Having said that, I will share a bit of our adventure with was all magical and that's what I know Liam and Jaxson will remember.  A magical time for them...I think six and three were the perfect ages...the wonder and delight around every corner was so joy filled, for all of us who witnessed their laughter and excitement.  They live in that world with those characters.  They know them.  I wished I could share all the moments of incredible joy that popped out on their little faces every time they were awed by something different and real in their eyes.

The night before..with suitcases packed and a Mickey inside, they figured out that they were going to Disney...this is the reaction when they found out it was going to happen the next morning..priceless.

 We arrive at the hotel..Jaxson sees the pool. After a very early start, 4:30 car pick-up, we all decided a good rest and a swim was in order.  Those boys sure know how to have a good time.

The Polynesian was so lovely here...Just completely redone with two beautiful pools. Our home for the next five days.

After a much needed, good nights sleep, we went to our first of two character breakfast.  Forget the food..the boys were so excited they had a hard time containing themselves...especially Jaxson...Meet Pluto.


This was so much fun.  Jaxson lead the parade with Mickey Mouse.  He was so surprised, honestly I was killing myself laughing with him...could be why he's blurry but the photo tells the story..I'm going with that.

This was Jaxson's "Oh my Gosh" expression every time he was "shocked" by something...He could hardly contain his husband said..."I don't know how much you paid for this trip but it was worth every penny." 

A night at Epcot...we got all four parks in while we were there.

Chez Mickey was our second character breakfast. Of course, this was the highlight for everyone.

Liam is a bit skeptical about Goofy...I love the look on his face.  I'm not sure if any of us sat down long enough to eat a full breakfast...we were having way to much fun.

So although Liam loved the characters, his big mission was to go to Jedi school.  He had to wait two days to get in but he did it...

He met the challenge and then had to fight Darth Vader..his Jedi powers were working and he manged to defeat the enemy...he was so serious about this...that's his Jedi instructor with the blue sword...LOL

It's a good thing I had that knee surgery so the boys could get around Disney when they got tired...

They are such good buddies...honestly.  No stress with these two...

The Castle

Such a sweet boy.  Waiting for the show to start.  He loves any kind of music.

On the last night we went to the Polynesian Review.  The show was wonderful and the food was o.k.

It was the end of our vacation.  We created some wonderful memories and we can now check this one off our bucket list...until the next time...Jim and I feel so grateful for all the time we get with the boys and our own kids.  Not everyday is a Disney World day but together, we can get through anything. When the dust settles we just go off on another adventure.  If you have a bucket list, make sure you empty it out every once in awhile.  When it's empty, fill it up again...It doesn't even have to be big trips.  It only has to be something that makes you happy.  Life is to be lived...




In the stillness of night, wisdom came and stood

By my bed.  She gazed upon me like a tender Mother

and wiped away my tears, and said: I have heard

The cry of your spirit and I have come to comfort it.

Open your heart to me and I shall fill it wth light.

Ask of me and I shall show you the way of truth.

                  Khalil Gibran


Haiku With Tea

Smoky, earthy, strong

Russian Caravan

Tea Time...

 Handcarved spoon:  Jim Crotty


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